Dear Editor,

I enjoy reading Food Safety News daily and have responded in the past to adjust a view point on egg farmers.  Here’s another occasion for an adjustment.  The Jan. 30 edition of the morning news from Food Safety News reported the The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is offering face masks because of the Coronavirus outbreak. PETA stated “Filthy factory farms, slaughterhouses, and meat markets threaten the health of every human being on the planet by providing a breeding ground for deadly diseases like coronavirus, SARS, bird flu, and more,” said PETA president Ingrid Newkirk.

The National Association of Egg Farmers was anticipating some group attempting a connection to this current Coronavirus when it was reported originating from a poultry and seafood market in China.  No link has been established.

SARS is not the result of intensive poultry farm production facilities. The CDC published more than a decade ago of a report from Dr. David Swayne from the USDA/ARS Southeast Regional Poultry Lab (SEPRL) stating that coronaviruses have been widely studied in chickens (infectious bronchitis virus), and turkeys (turkey enteric coronaviruses or Blue comb).  This report was research on the coronavirus for SARS; severe acute respiratory syndrome. The SEPRL study was to determine if SARS coild grow in avian embryos.  The allantoic sac was inoculated and were tested by virus isolation and real-time RT-PCR for SARS.

The conclusion was that poultry were unlikely to have been infected during the SARS outbreak and were unlikely to have played any role as amplifiers in the animal markets of southern China.

Since Food Safety News is widely read and respected, could a comment be offered that, at present, no connection to poultry can be linked to coronavirus?

Thank you.

— Ken Klippen, President

National Association of Egg Farmers

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